This post may contain affiliate links, which help to keep Discerning Cyclist rolling. Learn more.
Having your bike stolen is a truly devastating experience, and not just because of the financial difficulties involved in buying a new bike, or claiming insurance.
Although cases of bicycle theft were falling in the years 2017 – 2020, this number rose dramatically during the first Covid 19 lockdown in April. An increase in cycling meant an increase in thefts. It’s estimated that close to 115,000 were stolen in the first year of Covid in the UK.
For many of us, bikes are very personal and beloved things. Naturally, we want to keep them safe. There are various things you can do to protect your bike from theft, but the first and most obvious one is to get a decent lock.
The type of lock you use will depend on your needs. For many it’s about finding a balance between something that is easy to carry and will provide decent security.
Nowadays there’s a wide choice of excellent locks that, combined with sensible choices about where you leave your bike and for how long, should provide peace of mind.
And for those who like to travel light? A wearable bike lock could be the perfect fit.
What is a Wearable Bike Lock?
Put simply, a wearable bike lock is one that you can wear around your waist, or are light and small enough to be clipped easily onto a belt loop, bag, or anything else.
Many bikes have a mount for a D-lock. For those that don’t there are different options – a pannier, backpack, or leaving the lock at a destination if it’s a regular parking spot. But if you like to ride light, carrying a heavy D-lock isn’t always desirable.
There are similar issues with a chain. Decent chain locks are heavy things. They provide far more flexibility in terms of locking the bike up, which is why some people prefer them. But they can be bulky and cumbersome to carry.
Bike chain locks that are designed to be worn are a completely different story. Wearing a chain around the waist, even if it is on the heavier side, feels far less heavy than carrying it in a backpack.
Types of Wearable Bike Lock
The main types of wearable bike locks are ‘belt’ bike locks that are worn around the waist or hips, wearable D-locks that can be pocketed (or attached to a bag or a belt), or ultra-lightweight circular locks for ‘grab and go’ protection.
Wearable ‘belt’ bike locks are designed with a clasp that releases easily. These can be chains or more rigid circular locks, of varying thickness.
Wearable D-locks are lightweight and small, but can still have maximum security ratings. Locking options are more limited due to their small size, so you do need separate locks to secure your wheels.
Locks such as the Ottolock Hexband are incredibly lightweight and can be carried in a pocket or attached to the bike, a belt, or anything else. They are versatile and strong but are not designed for leaving the bike for long periods. They’re ideal for quick stops where you need grab and go protection.
Wearable Bike Lock Pros + Cons
Wearable bike locks vary in terms of security ratings and ‘how’ they can be worn. With this in mind, we’ll take a look at some of the general advantages and disadvantages:
- Any wearable bike lock is easy to transport without the need for panniers or bags.
- Wearable belt locks offer more locking options than rigid D-locks.
- Wearable belt locks are adjustable, comfortable and easy to remove.
- Most (though not all) belt locks do not have a Diamond secure rating.
- Chain belt locks need to be quite high off the ground when locked up, to lessen risk from bolt cutters.
- Belt locks can get grime and dirt on your clothes after being attached to the bike.
Are Wearable Bike Locks Safe?
Bike locks that are specially designed to be worn around the waist are safe, because they attach with fastenings that are never locked when worn. In the unfortunate case of an accident, they can be easily removed.
This is an important safety feature. Locking a chain around your waist is not a good idea if it requires a separate key or combination to unlock it. If you do come off the bike and are injured, the last thing you want is someone spending time trying to remove it, or looking for the key.
Hopefully, of course, this will never happen. But the reality is, if you’re wearing a chain that can’t be easily removed, it could impede access to any injuries and much needed medical attention.
Discerning Cyclist’s expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing cycling products so you don’t have to.
Testing stylish gear since 2012
Hundreds of hands-on product tests
Unfiltered opinions from experienced cyclists
Best Wearable Bike Locks [Top 3]
Security Rating: Diamond
Weight: 1.9kg / 2.25kg
With a Diamond rating from Sold Secure, the LITELOK Core Plus offers maximum security. It’s ideal for those wanting to leave the bike for longer time periods or in high risk areas. There are other Sold Secure Diamond rated locks out there, but this is the only one wearable as a belt.
But in spite of boasting the highest security rating possible, this lock doesn’t compromise on weight. Available in two sizes, with the larger weighing 2.25kg, it’s lighter than many chain or D-locks.
With two adjustable wrap straps supplied, the lock attaches round your hips and is easy to secure and undo. It’s safe with a pre-formed shape that makes it easier and more comfortable to wear than a chain.
And if you don’t want to wear it, you can mount it to the bike with the wrap-around and adjustable frame mounts. It’s a rigid lock but it’s wide enough to offer more locking flexibility than a D-lock. The larger size locking length is 100cm and the smaller is 75cm.
But best of all, this lock is seriously tough. With multiple-layered protection including aerospace grade hardened steel, it’s designed to withstand even prolonged attacks with cutters. It also has pick resistant locks and drill resistant rivets.
In short, this powerhouse lock offers a lot of versatility, and peace of mind.
Security Rating: Gold
The Hiplok Gold is a robust chain with an impressive Gold rating from Sold Secure, that can be worn around the waist like a belt. With a speed buckle fastening, it’s never locked when worn, so can be put on and removed easily and safely.
This is a lock for ‘high risk’ areas, with a 10mm hardened steel chain and 12mm hardened steel shackle. Let’s be honest, no lock is completely impenetrable, but this one offers solid protection along with the flexibility of an 85cm locking circumference. You’re certainly not limited in what you can attach it to.
Weighing 2.4kg, it’s reasonably lightweight. Consider that many chain locks weigh around 4kg, and some up to 6kg. And of course, wearing a chain whilst sitting on a bike simply doesn’t feel like “weight” in the same way as carrying it in a bag or pannier.
The superbright hi-vis colour is a bonus, adding an extra level of visibility for safer night time rides.
3. Hiplok DX
Security Rating: Diamond
For those wanting a D-lock without the weight, this wearable D-lock offers just that. At only 1.1 kg and with built in belt clips, it can be attached effortlessly to a belt or a bag or carried in a pocket. This makes it extremely versatile.
Given the size of the Hiplok DX, with locking dimensions of 15 x 8.5 cm, it won’t fit around the wheel and the frame when locking up, nor will it fit around larger posts.
It is, however, a perfect fit for bike racks. The small size is also a security advantage. Being a snug fit makes it harder to access with tools, which is bad news for thieves.
And this lock also has a Diamond Rating from Sold Secure, with a premium 14mm hardened steel shackle, double deadlock and anti-rotation locking. It is, in spite of its weight, a very tough little lock offering maximum security.